Hull law student goes public with battle against mental health problems

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Celine Ballantine says her selfies show her descent into depression, and urges people to be more open about their struggles

A law student at the University of Hull has chosen to go public with her experiences of mental health problems to inspire others to be more open.

Celine Ballantine admitted to her Facebook friends she has felt “unhappy”, “unmotivated” and “unsuccessful” for as long as she can remember. Posted days before University Mental Health Day, her candid post said:

I felt as if it was almost impossible some mornings to leave my bed because at the end of the day – What was the point? Nothing had a purpose. Ive had people yell at me say ‘Just get up’ ‘Stop being lazy’ but truth is , for anyone else that has experiend anything similar it is not that easy. And the days you do manage to move from bed you feel like a gold medal should be awarded.

Ballantine — who is currently receiving treatment in Cygnet Hospital, Harrogate — directed her Facebook friends to four photographs of herself taken on different days. The photos, when looked from left to right, show how her mental health issues have physically affected her.

She made the same post on her Instagram page.

It’s not uncommon for students, especially those reading intense subjects like law, to suffer from depression, anxiety and/or stress throughout their degree. This was a topic explored for Legal Cheek by Josh Dowson, a student at the London School of Economics. He argued that law school culture is due a shake-up: anxiety and doubt need to be de-stigmatised so more people are willing to talk about it and be more open. Social media storytelling like Ballantine’s is an example of this.

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What a brave young lady



Thank you to Celine Ballantine for bringing awareness to the mental health straggles that some people have to cope with. Mental health illness is a as real and debilitating as physical illness.



This is admirable but hardly news. I suffer with mental health issues and the real struggle is actually getting help not being open about your struggles


J.V. Jarndyce

Anon, I’m sorry you’ve suffered from mental health issues. So have I, during my legal studies and afterwards. I think Josh and Celine are right to speak out to encourage those suffering in silence to get the help that you and I agree is necessary.

Not many people know that I’ve had depression and anxiety, and I don’t want it to define me. But it was a massive step for me to admit this to myself, close friends, family and partner. It was they who helped me to get the help and ultimately, to help myself.

Culturally, we do need to be slightly more open than a clam about these things!


Doc. Ludvig Friedrich Von Lowenstein

So LC plasters mental health people all over the internet, so destroying their careers. What is that?



She plastered herself over the internet, to be fair.


Larry Flynt

This post has been removed because it breached Legal Cheek’s comments policy.



This is very brave, noble and sincere…. but I’m not sure if this was wise…….

If this was my sibling who came to me with this, I would ask them not to do it… there are lots of people who are supportive and sympathetic…. however, there are lots of people who will take this as an opportunity to exploit what they deem to be a “weakness”, especially in an employment context or even people who you meet socially who are nasty / mean spirited….

I expect Celine did this knowing that there would be both positive and negative consequences……she did something very valuable and selfless by placing the positive impact over and above the negative.



An unhappy lawyer?!

I’m shocked



It is not called unhappiness, it is called clinical depression, the last one is an illness the first one is a temporary feeling.



Uni of hull… Things can get much worse for her

But clearly depression clouds judgment to the extent that she didn’t realise this is categorically a bad idea



Hull is one of the three great universities


Lord Melchett the Twenty Second

No- there are only two great Universities.

Oxford’s a complete dump!



No, keeping quiet about mental health issues to further one’s career, thus perpetuating prevalence of mental health issues in the industry, is a bad idea.



i had lots of mental health problems during my studies. But whilst she’s been really brave and helpful to others in the same boat (and trust me there are a lot of others), I was slightly more cowardly and selfish by not telling anyone. I missed exams because of depression/anxiety but gave more ‘acceptable’ physical reasons for them.
The reason is that Law firms appear very open to mental health in their marketing literature, but unforutnely in reality a lot of people who work there aren’t and have very ignorant and negative views about it. It’s my little secret, my burden to bear- I just put on a good show at work. We’ve come a long way re mental health, but not far enough yet. But I’m sure with trailblazers like the author we will soon.


Doc. Ludvig Friedrich Von Lowenstein

I feel a duty to protect mental people from LC.
If you provide an employer with proof that you are mental, the employer may legitimately sack you on the spot on the ground that you are not fit for work and a liability to clients, the employer and the profession.
LC is all the above



Try having social anxiety ,depression Been unemployed and in debt


jai potts

I suffer with the same thing people don’t understand the day to day life we have some people try telling mi to go for walks or to go out but that is part of my anxiety I’m not a dog that you can just take for a walk and things will be better I have to cope with this I’ll Ness and I live on my own it’s got to the stage were I have no friends and see my mum once a week then it’s up to me to deal with how I’m going to get threw the week never mind not being able to sleep at nht because of fear of having night mare dreams and waking up every 2 to 3 hours I just hope that one day I can get back to being happy go lucky like I used to be my name is jai I’m from Manchester I wanted you to now your brave and this is my first time talking or explain how I feel and to let you now that we’re not alone



Don’t suffer alone Jai. Speak to your GP. Ring a helpline. Speak to your tutor\employer. You say this is your first time talking or explaining how you feel, don’t make it your last.



Brave girl. It takes a lot of courage to admit when you have a problem. Hope that her treatment goes well and improves her condition.


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